Monday, 1 February 2010

Review: Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Released: February 4th, 2010
Grade rating: B+/A-

Amazon summary:

Nikki Maxwell is not popular, in fact Nikki Maxwell is the opposite of popular; she's a total dork! But Nikki's hoping that by moving to a new school she might just stand a chance of making some friends and leaving her old lame-ways in the past. But life is never that simple! Follow Nikki's life through sketches, doodles and diary entries as she starts her new school, battles with her mum for an iPhone and meets her arch-nemisis, the school's queen bee, MacKenzie.


I'm nowhere near the target age for this book, but I absolutely loved it! It's such an enjoyable read, with very funny dialogue and brilliant artwork, which is drawn by Rachel Renee Russell herself. While reading Nikki's diary entries, I cringed, I laughed out loud, and I relived a few of my own disastrous school days as a 14-year-old. Traumatising, I know.

Dork Diaries chronicles Nikki Maxwell's experiences at a new school, through notes, daily diary entries, doodles and drawings. Her embarrassing stories are there for everyone to read (and see!), as well as her feud with mean girl MacKenzie and crush on budding photographer Brandon. Her new best friends Chloe and Zoey -- self-confessed bookworms -- are great supporting characters, and provide Nikki with some much needed life advice.

Russell has her writing spot-on when it comes to her target market, with lots of teen slang, believable scenarios and contemporary references. Oh, and anyone who can make a poem ('The Biology of my Heartbreak') about a dead frog make me laugh for ten minutes deserves a comedy award. Of course, there's room for improvement: more character development, less use of capitals and no algebra problems (eurgh!) would be top of my list, though these minor complaints are nothing to write home about.

As the front of the book says, it's Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls, but it also reminded me of a US version of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. It's almost as funny, and definitely just as awkward. I loved the format, I loved the artwork, I loved the story, and I can't wait for Dork Diaries: Party Time, which is published later in the year.


So Many Books, So Little Time said...

A US version of Angus! What more do you need? Great review, Jenny!

Luisa at Chicklish said...

It sounds fantastic! I really want to read this now. Thank you for the great review!

Sasha said...

I saw this in Smith's the other day and thought it looked v. cute! Great review :)
Hope you enjoy Magic Under Glass x

Lauren said...

This sounds super cute! Definitely one to cheer up these miserable winter days. I've never heard of this one before, so thanks for the review.

Becky said...

I bought this for the school library after seeing it in your mailbox. The kids were so excited when they found it on the new books stand.

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

When I saw this cover, I immediately though Diary of a Wimpy Kid... girl version?! Lol. I'm surprised to find that it's actually quite a good tween/teen read though, and I'll definitely be recommending it to my little sister. She finds the DoWK series hilarious, so maybe this one will be a perfect fit! :)

Shweta said...

I think I would love a book of this kind too. Looks very cute and fun as well

Lauren said...

Great reveiw! I enjoyed this one as well and am looking forward to the sequel. :)

Cliona said...

I like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, they're really funny! I'd love to read this too!